Wood Inlay Question

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Forum topic by Jim Crockett (USN Retired) posted 06-19-2008 04:06 AM 1070 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3969 days

06-19-2008 04:06 AM

In many of the box projects, I notice band(s) of contrasting wood. Is this a glue-up or is it inlaid? If inlaid, could someone give me brief instructions on how to do it? My thought is that you would route a groove maybe 1/16” or so deep, then trim the contrasting wood to size and glue it in. Am I close?


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

6 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13798 posts in 4333 days

#1 posted 06-19-2008 04:31 AM

You are on track. Hopefully some of the box makers will jump in. There are a number of books on this subject. I found this with a quick google search. Info on banding is down a ways in the article below.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 4020 days

#2 posted 06-19-2008 04:40 AM

Depending on the thickness of the wood, you could also just have a thin wooden strip that is the same thickness as the wood. I did that on the box I made for my wife. That way the inlay is visible on the top and bottom of the box lid. And no grooves necessary.

-- Eric at

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4455 days

#3 posted 06-19-2008 04:53 AM

Plenty of ways to skin the cat. I usually do what you said…. rout a groove. The depth can vary depending on the thickness of the piece you want to inlay. The key is to make the groove a little shallower than the inlay piece so that when you glue it in place it will be a little proud of the surrounding surface. Then you can sand it flush.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4224 days

#4 posted 06-19-2008 05:22 PM

For me it basically depends on what materials I have to work with. I might do it a glueup I might not.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4035 posts in 4300 days

#5 posted 06-19-2008 06:26 PM

Jim, your on the right track. Way easier to make the hole first and fit the inlay to the hole. One side note, which may be belaboring the point – if you are trying to cut a channel for the inlay that is centered on your workpiece, you should flip the piece end for end and route it from both directions, remembering that any adjustment in the fence will double the width of the additional cut. Having a micro-adjustable fence is a blessing here.

If tearout will be a concern, some folks like to use a knife, cutting gauge, or gramil etc. to scribe the shoulders of the cut before routing. In other applications I sometimes define the shoulders of the plow with table saw cuts, and use the router to surface the bottom of the channel and adjust the width slightly as needed. I have also used a strip of clear packing tape over the wood before plowing, to prevent tear-out. And I follow the cut through the cutter with a waste block to prevent blowout at the end of the cut.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4455 days

#6 posted 06-19-2008 06:57 PM

Doug’s suggestions are all excellent. Unfortunately, I’m usually too impatient to follow any of them. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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